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Delhi court deprecates lackadaisical behaviour of court staff in serving summonses

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New Delhi, May 13 (PTI) A Delhi court has deprecated the "lackadaisical behaviour" of officials employed as process servers for not serving summonses on time, saying it is a general problem across courts and that it requires the attention of higher authorities.

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Process servers are class-4 or Group-D staff who serve the summonses or processes of law issued by a court on parties. They also perform other clerical work.

Hearing a criminal case registered by the Narela police station, Additional Sessions Judge Amit Sahrawat took note of the request of one of the witnesses residing in Bihar, who could not visit the court as he was not served the summons in advance.

"From the request, it seems that he (the witness) was not served the summons well within the time and therefore, the report of the process server was examined. In the report of the process server, no date is mentioned as to when the witness was served (the summons) through WhatsApp," the judge said in an order dated May 10.

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Taking note of the evidence before it, the court said more than a month was given to the process server, a Delhi Police constable, for serving the summons, but "in a major lapse" on his part, he served it through WhatsApp only a day before the date of appearance.

In his reply, the staff said he could not serve the summons because of election duty, the court noted.

Expressing dissatisfaction, it said the argument is without merits as he had only to serve the summons digitally through WhatsApp.

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"Generally, summonses are served to witnesses only two-three days before the date of appearance and due to that, witnesses fail to appear before the court and this happens due to the lackadaisical behaviour of process servers," the judge said.

Underscoring that there are no guidelines specifying when a summons should be served, the court said there should be "obligations" on the process servers to serve summonses well within time so that long-distance witnesses can plan their journey to the court.

"At this stage, it is pertinent to mention that this is not the problem of any particular police station (within the jurisdiction of this court), rather it is a general problem which is being faced by the courts and the same should be brought to the knowledge of higher authorities, so that a possible solution could be carved out," it said.

"Copy of this order be sent to the commissioner of the Delhi Police," the court added. PTI MNR RC

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